Is it too early for a Christmas post? Cause I'm already getting into the festive spirit and ready to bake, cook or prepare all things deliciously decadent even though we are over a month away for Christmas. I prepared this chocolate covered marzipan nougat last weekend and couldn't wait any longer to share it with all of you (even though I still have some pending posts, being one of them a great cake recipe to celebrate Cinnamon Girl's 6th anniversary next week!).
When you are food blogger you know you must start early with all the holiday cooking so you have enough time to prepare your posts and then to get started with all the crazy gift and food shopping...actually, is there such a thing as "having enough time"?! I'm always in a rush! But you get the point, right? November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for anyone who runs a food blog, it's a non-stop cooking frenzy: cooking for the blog and cooking for the family. Santa, you better bring me some awesome gifts cause I'm working my ass off!
Talking about this recipe again, I combined two of the most traditional spanish Christmas sweets, marzipan and nougat, in one yummy dessert. Christmas in Spain wouldn't be the same without these treats and I love to follow those traditions that involve luscious desserts, ha! My favorite type of nougat is soft almond nougat, it just melts in your mouth and has a lovely sweet roasted almond flavour; but there are so many different flavors and each year you can find crazy new combinations by famous chefs. You can find my recipe from last year by clicking here. This year though I wanted to try a different one and that's why I made a marzipan nougat covered in dark chocolate and decorated with soft almond nougat crumbs, caramelized pine nuts and little bit of edible silver dust to make it look more festive. Of course you can choose to leave the nougat all natural or try other decorations such as white chocolate drizzled on top, some sprinkles, walnuts or even dried fruits. Let your imagination run wild!
Dark Chocolate Marzipan Nougat
(Makes one rectangle of 20 cm x 5 cm /8-in x 2-in approx.)
- For the marzipan:
200 g (7 ounces) raw unsalted almonds, blanched.
1/3 cup agave syrup or brown rice syrup.
Zest of one organic orange.
A few drops of organic orange essential oil.
125 g (4,5 oz approx.) dark chocolate, 72% cacao.
Soft almond nougat, crumbled.
Caramelized pine nuts.
Edible silver dust, optional.
Place the almonds in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until a fine flour forms, you might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Measure 1/4 cup of the flour and set aside.
Add in the agave or rice syrup, orange zest, and essential oil and process until a smooth but compact dough forms. It'll be quite sticky but don't worry.
In a large mixing bowl and using your hands mix together the dough with the remaining almond flour, this will make the dough more moldable, easier to handle.
Press down the dough into a nougat (or chocolate bar) silicone mold, alternatively you can roll the dough into a rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let it set in the refrigerator overnight or if you don't have enough time you can also transfer the dough into the freezer for 45 minutes, until firm.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Unmold the nougat and place it on a cooling rack, coat the marzipan with half of the melted chocolate. Let it set in the fridge and repeat the process with the remaining chocolate.
Right after the second coat of chocolate decorate with the suggested toppings.
Store the nougat in an airtight container in the refrigerator.